brad ridler

24 full hours of magic at Disney Parks

One more day of magic....yes please!

Disney Parks guests can get the most out of February 29 when Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California celebrate Leap Year by keeping a theme park on each coast open for 24 hours of nonstop memory-making fun.

For the first time ever, both the Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland Park will stay open for 24 hours straight as part of a bi-coastal salute called “One More Disney Day.” From 6 a.m., February 29 to 6 a.m., March 1, 2012, local time, guests can fill the extra day of leap year with a marathon of Disney magic and fun.*
And for 60 days straight – from Jan. 1, 2012 to Feb. 29, 2012 – a daily winner will be chosen in the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” to receive a Disney Parks vacation.  One entrant each day will win a vacation for four to make memories at either Disneyland Resort in California or Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.**
For the past year, Disney Parks has invited guests to “let the memories begin,” noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
“We’re honored that so many guests have shared their Disney memories with us as part of ‘Let the Memories Begin’, and I’m pleased to announce that the campaign will continue throughout 2012,” Staggs said. “To celebrate, for the first time ever, the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Parks will remain open for 24 hours on Leap Day, so that our guests can take advantage of every minute of their extra day to make memories with friends and family.”
In addition to the extra time, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California will feature a special offer:

  • Guests get one more day and night of memory making, free when they buy a 3-night/3-day non-discounted Walt Disney Travel Co. room and ticket package at select Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort hotels.  The package offer is good for arrivals most nights Feb. 26 – March 10, 2012 and must be booked by Jan. 31, 2012. ***

In 2011, Disney Parks has encouraged families to “Let the Memories Begin,” with guests celebrating their only-at-Disney memories by sharing their vacation stories, photos and videos online at DisneyParks.com/memories.
Guests can find out more information about other Disneyland Resort offers and tickets at www.disneyland.com and other Walt Disney World Resort hotel and ticket offers at www.disneyworld.com. Guests can find out more information about “One More Disney Day” and get official rules for the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” atwww.OneMoreDisneyDay.com.

Big Red's Disney Bootcamp: Holidays Disney Style

Is the thought of spending the Christmas Holidays in the sunshine appealing to you?  Flip-flops and shorts instead of boots, wool jackets and mittens attached to strings? Well keep those mittens, you might want to bring them just for show. Welcome to the possibilities of celebrating Christmas at Disney.

Despite my efforts, I have never been able to see everything Walt Disney World offers during the holidays. From the life-sized gingerbread houses at the Resorts to the over-sized Christmas Trees everywhere, Disney truly knows how to ring in a Holiday. Disney pulls out all the stops when it comes to Christmas, and if you’ve never been during this special time, I highly recommend it.

Walt was so enamored with Christmas because of his two daughters; Diane and Sharon, that he made sure it was over the top for all his guests coming into Disneyland. These days, all Disney Parks have taken on that special task of welcoming guests with the very best holiday experience possible. Here are a few of the offerings for this extra magical time, remember it’s just the tip of the Christmas Tree though:

Walt Disney World offers Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom on selected nights from Nov.8 through Dec.18. This is a special ticketed event which means a separate ticket is needed.

Take into consideration that Christmas is the busiest time of year for Walt Disney World, meaning a lot more guests than usual. I do highly recommend visiting at least once during the Christmas season because they put on a great party. Tip: Try to visit after American Thanksgiving and before the week of Christmas if you can. All the decorations and events are happening, with minimal crowds.

Here are a few highlights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is simply a wonderland of sites and sounds. Dancing gingerbread men to trumpet playing tin soldiers, there is something for everyone in this charming parade.  You might even see the BIG GUY alittle early to so make sure your letter to Santa is ready and you’ve been a really good girl or boy because he’s always watching.

Cinderella’s Enchanted Castle Dream Light’s is possibly my favorite thing to see.  Dusk is the very best time to see the magic happen.

My Fairy Godmother will make a wee appearance and so will a host of other charming characters and Cinderella invites everyone to her home to watch it sparkle and dance with thousands of beautiful lights.

And when your night is almost over, Holiday Wishes Fireworks will come alive in the Spirit of the Season.  A magical display of colour and sound. I really recommend watching this somewhere near the Partners Statue so you can take in the entire Castle area and I assure you, you will never be disappointed.   You will most likely have to save your viewing spot for at least an hour prior to the show so be prepared to wait a little. Oh, and while your waiting for the night skies to erupt with lights, why not have someone go and get some free hot cocoa and Christmas cookies for the wait? It’s all included in your price.

Character Meet & Greets

There are also many meet & greets with some of your favorite characters throughout the Park, decked out for the holidays. So get out your PhotoPass card and look on your special Park Map for locations.

These events truly do give Disney and their Cast Members the opportunity to show you exactly what they do best. From the hand decorated ornaments, of which there are hundreds of thousands of them, to the hand strung garlands that are everywhere. I can’t forget to mention the parade floats, the costumes, and to give away another secret…….Disney can even make it snow! Despite the fact you hopped on a plane and flew thousands of kilometres to escape it, you will see snow, and it will be glorious!

Take in the spirit of the season

I really suggest that you merely walk and take everything in and not really worry about riding any rides during the Party. If you have the time and the waits aren’t that long, then by all means, enjoy yourself.
However, I really suggest walking around. You will find the magic and charm of Christmas everywhere. Main Street Bakery will tempt your taste buds from the moment you walk onto Main Street USA.  I always recommend taking a step through all the shops along Main street, there are amazing artisans with some unique crafts and goodies. Families traveling from all over to come and witness a Disney Holiday is truly a sight to be seen. Take a break, watch the festivities and be transformed with the Spirit of Christmas.

Now, if you will excuse me, there is a HUGE piece of gingerbread calling my name and the cocoa is getting cold so I could use a refill.

Until next time,
TTFN

Tracey

5 reasons we love Universal Orlando

While Walt Disney World is the main attraction for many visitors to Orlando, and we agree that it’s a great place to visit, many people forget about the other awesome resort just up the road from the Mouse, Universal Orlando. With 2 parks, 3 resorts and tons of great dining and shopping experiences, we think Universal is pretty awesome. Here are 5 reasons why we love Universal Orlando Resort:

1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There is no experience on the planet that is better than this fantastic, magical, immersive themed environment. If you only visit one area of the entire Universal Orlando Resort, make this your stop. From the magic of Hogsmeade Village, to the delectable taste of Butterbeer, nothing is more exciting than actually experiencing the locations from the films. The star attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Joruney, will leave you speechless. The lineup for this ride is just as good as the ride itself. I mean, you get to walk to halls of Hogwarts! Make sure to visit Ollivander’s to pick your want, or if you’re lucky it will pick you! And take a little treat home for your friends by grabbing a bottle of Pumpkin Juice for them to try. Sadly, Butterbeer is not sold in bottles, so they’ll have to visit to taste it themselves.

2. Margaritaville at Citywalk

Nothing sets me in a better mood than sitting on the patio listening to Jimmy Buffet and sipping a carefully concocted margarita. The food here is great and you never know what impromptu entertainment will be taking place both inside and out front. Make sure to visit the inside portion of the bar to experience the hurricanes that happen every once in a while. They also have a massive Margaritaville Store where you can buy almost anything with the famous brand stamped upon it. My favourite being the Margaritaville Blender that comes in many variations, or the shot chiller that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering hoping to get to paradise.

3. Rockin special events year round

From the magic of Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Macy’s Holiday Parade, to the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, there is always something exciting happening at the resort. Universal Orlando knows how to party, and they get great bands to play at their special events (such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Smash Mouth for New Years), plus most are included with park admission. Even Citywalk has awesome events all the time. The Ellen Degeneres Show tapes their once a year, and random dance parties break out at Citywalk. Pretty awesome!

4. Halloween Horror Nights

We know this is an event, but it’s so grand it deserves a mention for itself. This is the biggest and best Halloween event in North America. Each year during the Halloween season, they bring terrifying mazes, scare zones and shows to the resort. Each year has a brand new theme and new attractions. It’s not recommended for children, and personally we agree. If you’re looking for a legendary night out, or just need a little liquid courage to make it through the mazes, they have booze EVERYWHERE. In the lines, scattered through the park, and even shot girls dressed as nurses! The only place they don’t seem to have booze is in the bathrooms. Ok, so we like to party hard at this event. But even if you don’t drink, it’s our favourite event of the year because it’s just so cool to see the resort transform into such a different atmosphere.

5. It’s not Disney

Don’t get us wrong, we love Walt Disney World. It’s just sometimes, you can get tired of the magic and make belief of the place. I repeat, we still love Disney. Heck, some of us have worked for the Mouse. But Universal has a different atmosphere, it’s more adult oriented, which gives them license to be a bit more risque (Beetlejuice’s Rocking Roll Grave Yard Revue, for example.) and it’s just different than Disney. You can have a few drinks, hear some off colour humour and not worry about destroying the dreams of a 5-year-old by doing so. Universal is the place to visit if you’re looking for something that’s just as great as Walt Disney World, but isn’t a blatant wannabe.

So, what are your reasons for loving Universal Orlando? Leave a comment below and let us know!

 
 
 
 
 

Transformers Ride opening soon in Singapore

We’re so excited that Transformers: The Ride that is opening in less than a month at Universal Studios Singapore. It’s going to take the technology and concepts of the Spiderman ride from Islands of Adventure and inject it with steroids. The Grand Opening is slated for December 3, and while many details are still unclear, they keep posting teasers for us. We’ll be sure to post updates and pictures as soon as we recieve them. Until then, check out this preview of the pre-show that the Resorts World Sentosa blog has posted:

They also have a great blog to follow for the latest updates on the ride. Check it out at HERE
Sadly, we won’t be able to check out the overseas version of the ride, but Spring 2012 will bring the U.S. version of the Transformers ride to Universal Studios Hollywood, and we hope to make it there for a visit when it opens.